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Oct 24, 2018

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech on the 62nd anniversary

Budapest, 23 October 2018

Fellow Celebrants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

According to one of the laws of mathematics, if we multiply two negative numbers, the product is always a positive number. This is a truth which is difficult to comprehend. If we translate this strange truth into the language of history, the main lines of Hungary’s past are suddenly revealed to us. Almost all our revolutions and freedom fights have ended with a negative result: defeat, victims, reprisals. But somehow from all this a positive result has eventually emerged: survival, nation and freedom. This is a true mystery, evoked by every one of our national holidays.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1955 occupying Soviet sources withdrew from Austria. By then we had already been under Soviet occupation for ten years. In Hungary, intimidation, tyranny, deportations and the logic of the Soviet world determined the order of our lives. Everyone felt that if things were to continue like that, under the oppressive barbarism of communism, then our culture – the Christian Hungarian culture that succeeding generations had created over the course of a thousand years – would disintegrate, would fall apart and be reduced to atoms. Our predicament seemed to be catastrophic. Within half a century we had been defeated twice: we had lost two-thirds of the territory of Hungary, together with the millions of Hungarians who lived there; and now cultural annihilation also threatened the remains of Hungary, the very heart of Historical Hungary. By nature Hungarians are not gamblers: they do not take risks with their homeland, and they do not readily set out on adventures with doubtful outcomes. If needed, they can fight hopeless battles, but they prefer to have both heroism and common sense on their side. The freedom fighters of ’56 made a rational decision: the Soviets had withdrawn from Austria; Hungarian communists were stabbing each other; and the free Western world was urging us on and promising us assistance. On one side of the coin was the hopelessness of annihilation; while on the other was a final, unrepeatable opportunity. The attempt needed to be made. And that is what they did. They did so in a way that only we Hungarians are able to: with death-defying courage, casting aside their own internal squabbles, and with complete unity and purity of heart. They did so with the kind of unity with which we originally occupied our homeland, with the kind of death-defying courage seen at the Siege of Nándorfehérvár [Belgrade], and with the purity of heart seen in March 1848. Glory to the heroes!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the passing of every year, as we are takin further away in time from 1956, among us there are ever fewer people who participated in or were witnesses of those days’ events. We have had to say our final farewells to many veterans with whom we commemorated this day last year. The Lads of Pest became grandfathers, and the saplings lining Üllői út – the leaves of which breathed in the gun smoke from Corvin köz – have grown into broad-limbed trees. But we have come together every year since then, whatever the weather; and thus will it be every 23 October, for as long as there are Hungarians on the earth. Faludy expressed it well, when he said that for us 1956 is not a memory and not history, but our heart and our backbone. After 1956 Hungary was a communist dictatorship for another thirty-four years: one needs to live; we lived however we could. It wasn't so long ago, and we remember it: a boarded over sky, bad compromises, pretence, concealment, sideways glances, closed hearts and mistrust. The day-to-day harshness of dictatorships generally stunts human dignity; and even after their demise, what tends to remain is emptiness, diminished vigour and mediocrity. We Hungarians were liberated from this: the freedom fighters of ’56 liberated us from this. We are grateful that our lot was not the memory of half a century of dispiriting greyness. What we received to sustain us on our path into the future was not human weakness and discord, but the example of courage, heroism and greatness. Only thus was it possible, even under communist oppression, for us Hungarians to be proud of our homeland.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We Hungarians can be more downcast than anyone, we Hungarians can outperform anyone in the fine art of complaining, and we Hungarians can lament for ourselves more sincerely than anyone else. We are past masters at proclaiming complete hopelessness and despair: even our national anthem contains the line, “But freedom does not flower, From the spilt blood of the dead.” Yet here we are, eleven hundred years after we arrived in our homeland, one thousand years after the foundation of the Christian Hungarian state, one of Europe’s oldest nations, the survivor of occupiers and occupations. Many sought to extinguish us: the mighty Holy Roman emperors; the mighty khans of the Mongol Empire; the even mightier Sultans of the Ottoman Empire; and then – mightiest of all – the Soviets’ general party secretaries. We have still somehow remained, in the middle of an endless Germanic and Slavic sea. What is this if not a genuine success story? Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the mathematics of Hungarian history: the multiplication of so many negatives somehow produces a positive.

Fellow Celebrants,

The mystery of Hungarian survival is inexplicable. The source of miracles is kept hidden from inquisitive human minds, but the heart can guess at something. Somewhere among the reasons for the survival of the Hungarians, we must surely find perennial Hungarian heroism. Defending Eger Castle, Dobó responded to his besiegers’ threats by displaying his own black coffin: a symbol of his readiness to die in combat. Wounded in the leg, Szondy still fought on to the very last. Zrínyi donned ceremonial finery to lead the final charge from Szigetvár Castle. “Long live the homeland!” cried the first Prime Minister of Hungary, as he faced the execution squad. And here they are: the Lads of Pest, boys born in the 1930s – in their teens or twenties at most – who in their lives had been given war, darkened windows, dread, nights of anguish, dead horses on the streets, bomb shelters, and the Siege of Budapest; then, after the war, the occupying Soviets, and the ruins of the bombed and bullet-ridden city. It was a country, their homeland, which had yet to give them anything: a nation that could only offer a share in its sufferings. But with the appearance of the first ray of light hinting that their country might be free – the first chance that the nation could tear itself free of its straitjacket, the first flickering hope that Hungary could once again be a Hungarian country – they knew what they had to do, and answered the call without a second thought. The Lads of Pest, who had never received anything from their country, but gave everything they had for it. There can be no doubt that their place is in the pantheon of eternal Hungarian heroism.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When after almost half a century of Soviet occupation and communist oppression we regained our freedom and could finally exhale from our lungs the stale air of the comrades’ world, we thought we had returned home. Hungary has been a part of Christian Europe for a thousand years. We are Europe – because we remained Europeans even after we were sold off at Yalta, and in ’56 when we were abandoned to our fate. After the Soviet withdrawal we felt that we had found calm, and that finally our history, culture and situation in global politics were all in alignment. We could again take our place in Europe: in the family of free nations, which stands on the foundations of Christian culture, national consciousness and human dignity. Everything seemed so beautifully arranged. Not even in our dreams could we have imagined that one day – twenty-nine years later, after the liberation of the captive nations, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of a brutally divided European continent – European nations, including us Hungarians, would be facing challenges not seen since the distant past. Not even in our dreams could we have imagined that Europe would be endangered not by external military threats, not by American or Russian ambitions, but by itself. Who would have thought that the most successful continent on Earth – which has created the most thriving culture, the most advanced technologies, the world’s best schools and the highest living standards humanity has ever seen – would within a few years be sliding downwards, drifting towards the brink of ruin?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

European people are born the sons and daughters of nations. When a European comes into this world, they are German, French, Italian, Polish or Hungarian. This is the order of history and nature. When a small child speaks for the first time, they say their first words in Polish, Croatian, Swedish, English – or Hungarian. This is why Europe is different from the other continents. Europe is the homeland of nations, and not a melting pot. And so who would have thought that the imperial idea – which has repeatedly left Europe in ruins – could reappear? Who would have thought that others would seek to tell us who we should live alongside in our own country? Who would have thought that Hungary or Poland would be attacked on the basis of fabrications, or that threats would be levelled at Romania and Slovakia – and even Italy?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe’s greatness, strength and glory has derived from nations both competing and cooperating with one another. Nations have respected one another’s rights, protected the interests of their citizens, were able to cooperate well, and shared the blessings of peace, growth and security. The passion in the hearts of patriots has inspired self-sacrifice, selflessness, scientific breakthroughs and magnificent works of art. A decade and a half ago, this was the kind of Europe – a Europe of nations – that we Hungarians were joining. We accepted the invitations of Helmut Kohl and Jacques Chirac, not the conquests of Bonaparte or the Third Reich. We Hungarians had suffered enough under empires. Every one of them wanted to turn us into good subjects. They did not understand that we have a homeland, and that a homeland has sons and daughters, not subjects. Since then they have perhaps learnt that the Hungarians smell out imperial designs from afar, and sooner or later their governors are sent packing – or experience something worse.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe was led astray not by confident nations, but by imperial designs. Experiments and experimenters in empire building were the root cause of the monstrous wars of the 20th century, an ocean of suffering, and the repeated devastation of a flourishing Europe. National Socialism and international socialism, fascism and communism all chased imperial dreams: supranational concepts; new forms of human created in melting pots; commercial profits on an unprecedented scale; and the global – imperial – governance to guarantee all this. This has been – and still seems to be – the great temptation that implants itself in the souls of the powerful in Europe. Today in Brussels imperial marches are being played again. It is true that this tune is different from the old one. Today they are not setting out to conquer with force of arms. We are well aware of the fact that Brussels is not Constantinople, nor Moscow, nor Imperial Berlin – nor even Vienna. Nothing has ever been conquered from Brussels: it only ever administered colonies. We, however, have never been either a colony or a coloniser; we have never taken away anyone’s homeland – and so we shall never give ours to anyone else.

Fellow Celebrants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Brussels today is ruled by those who want to replace an alliance of free nations with a European empire: a European empire led not by the elected leaders of nations, but by Brussels bureaucrats. Believers in a European empire are also in government in a number of European countries today. This is how we can know what that brave new world will be like if it is up to them: the appearance of increasing numbers of men of fighting age arriving from other continents and other cultures, within our lifetime shaping European cities in their own image, slowly but surely turning indigenous Europeans into a minority; terror as a part of life in large cities; political manipulation an everyday reality, justified on the grounds of the rule of law; and freedom of speech and the press which only extends as far as the freedom to echo their ideas.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Those who want to mould the European Union into a European empire are all, without exception, supporters of immigration. They have made the admission of migrants the litmus test of being European, and expect every country and nation to become multicultural without delay. Now we can see that they deliberately failed to use their enormous police and military capability, and they deliberately failed to defend Europe from the migrant masses. If we were able to do it, they could have done so too. What was lacking was not the ability, but the will. Even today, the Brussels vanguard and the other leaders who are opposed to nation states see migration as a chance, an opportunity. They see it as a chance to replace the European Union of nation states with a multicultural empire of mixed populations, smoothed into a unity: a Europe without nation states; an elite separated from its national roots; an alliance with multinational power groups; a coalition with financial speculators. This would be paradise for George Soros.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is October now, but everyone in Europe is already thinking forward to May. In May the elections to the European Parliament will determine the direction in which Europe travels. The peoples of Europe must choose a future. We Hungarians must not remain silent, either. If the trumpet call is hesitant, we cannot fall in behind even the most important and truest cause. Therefore we must answer the call, and pass on the message to those who believe in a Europe of nations. We must unfurl the flag of a free and strong Europe. Let us choose independence and the cooperation of nations over global governance and supervision. Let us reject the ideology of globalism, and instead support the culture of patriotism. The world can be richer and mankind can be better if the earth is populated by the diverse world of nations. We believe that every nation is special and unique in its own way, and can be a shining light in that segment of the world which is entrusted to it. This is what we believed in 1956, and this is why we rose up. We love our culture, which sustains and protects our freedom. We believe in strong families, we look upon our history and traditions as something exceptional, we celebrate our heroes – and, above all, we love our country. We do not want to surrender it – and shall not surrender it – in order to accept any empire or global governance. We do not want to erase our national feelings, but in fact we want to encourage them and set them free to release and liberate the capabilities and talents within Hungarian people. History teaches us that in sovereign countries freedom lives on, democracy is enduring, and peace prevails.

Fellow Celebrants,

Let us think of the freedom fighters of ’56. Let us remember the Lads of Pest. Let us choose the future of patriotism and national pride.

Go for it Hungary, go for it Hungarians!